South Korea has seen five months of job figures worse than the previous year amid the economic fallout from COVID-19.
This is the first time since 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis that the figure has been lower on-year for five months in a row.
According to data released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of people working in July was 27.1 million, down 277-thousand from the same period a year earlier.
The number of unemployed was the highest for the month of July since 1999 and the unemployment rate in July was four percent, the highest for the month of July since 2000.
All age brackets except for people aged over 60 saw a drop in the number of people working on-year.
"The employment rate of people aged between 15 and 64 has dropped by one.one percentage point on-year, with job losses for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s."
By sector, the largest drop was in the restaurants and lodging sector, which fell by 225-thousand jobs, or nine.five percent on-year.
An expert says the impact of COVID-19 on the job market was mostly in the first half of the year because people are now getting used to living with the outbreak.
"Uncertainty in the job market due to the outbreak is expected to continue throughout this year. But it is forecast to get better next year with an improvement in the global economy."
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said on social media Wednesday that although the situation is grim, July's on-year figure is improving compared to the previous three months.
"The finance minister said that the government recognizes the seriousness of the situation and is looking to create some 575-thousand jobs through the third supplementary budget and to create more jobs through the Korean New Deal project.
Eum Ji-young Arirang News."